STUDENTS should be able to start returning to fire-damaged Lytchett Minster School next Wednesday, education chiefs have confirmed.

Demolition work is taking place at the gutted creative arts block to make site safe, but because of a classroom shortage, not all students will be able to attend on every school day.

Those who stay at home will be expected to complete work set by their teachers, and to submit it for assessment when they go back to school. The plan that year 7 pupils stay home on the first day of the new term; year 8s on Thursday 10 and Monday 14; year 9s on Friday 11; and year 10s on Tuesday 15. Parents are being warned that this type of arrangement could remain in place until half term (February 18 to 22).

The school has promised to keep them informed through its website and Parentmail, and will try to give them at least a week’s notice of plans for subsequent days.

Students at the top end of the school – years 11, 12 and 13 – will be able to attend every day because they are in the final stages of GCSE, AS- and A-level courses.

The school is working towards securing more temporary classrooms and has thanked parents for their messages of support and offers of help.

Exam boards have been told that important coursework and assessment was lost in the blaze.

A spokesperson for AQA said: “We will discuss all the students affected, whether any evidence of their work still exists and what the best plan of action is over the next few months.

“We will apply special consideration in the summer, based on any evidence we've been able to retrieve and what other work the students have been able to complete.”

The school’s website says: “Our teachers are subject experts whose judgements are well respected over the years by the exam boards. Students should be confident of being awarded a grade that is a fair and accurate reflection of their performance.”